For Physicians
Sign Up 0    

How Does The First Herpes Outbreak In Women Occur?

December 26, 2022 | Farah Jassawalla

Genital herpes outbreaks slowly increase in intensity, with symptoms becoming gradually severe. However, for most individuals, the first outbreak is the most powerful.

The sexually transmitted disease occurs due to the Herpes Simplex Virus. The virus is detected in infected individuals through online lab tests or wellness clinics.

According to the CDC, genital Herpes is the most common infection in the United States. The prevalence of the disease has seen a tremendous increase due to HSV-1. The HSV-1 condition occurs typically during childhood and can be acquired orally (CDC, 2022).
Genital Herpes caused by HSV-2 is more common in women. The disease can be transmitted through skin-to-skin contact during sexual activity.

Overview of Genital Herpes

Genital Herpes can be transferred from one individual by sexual contact through genital, anal, or oral routes.

Two types of Herpes simplex virus cause Genital Herpes.  

  • Herpes Simplex Virus 1: causes fever blisters and cold sores.
  • Herpes Simplex Virus 2: This virus is most common for causing genital herpes as it shows more outbreaks. It can easily travel from one individual to another during sexual intercourse or activities.

Both of these viruses are unable to survive at room temperature. Hence it can’t be spread via surfaces.

Infected individuals that showcase no signs or symptoms of the disease are called asymptomatic. These patients have the highest chance of transferring the viral infection.

On the contrary, symptomatic people may experience itching, blisters, and sores in the genitals, mouth, and anus. The symptoms gradually worsen, and the frequency of the disease's outbursts increases.

The First Herpes Outbreak Female

The firtst herpes outbreak in females typically lasts two to four weeks, with symptoms gradually subsiding (Jewell, 2022). Women experiening their initial outbreak may notice: 

  • Small Blisters and Sores: These can appear in clusters in the genital region and may cause discomfort or pain.

  • Itchy Rashes: Common and itchy rashes may develop, potentially leading to small tears that can accumulate bacteria if scratched.

  • Abnormal Sensations: Tingling, hot or cold sensations in the genitalia are common during the first outbreak.

  • Painful Urination: This symptom is often confused with urinary tract infections (UTIs) and may occur concurrently.

  • Unusual Vaginal Discharge: A pus-like consistency in vaginal discharge may be observed.

  • Systemic Symptoms: Fever, headaches, fatigue, and lethargy are also not uncommon during the first herpes outbreak.

It's crucial for women to recognize these symptoms promptly and seek medical attention for an accurate diagnosis. The prevalence of genital herpes, especially caused by HSV-2, is higher in women, making understanding the first herpes outbreak essential for effective management.

Online lab tests for the diagnosis of genital herpes

Herpes symptoms in women can vary from person to person. A doctor can assess your sexual history and symptoms if you have genital Herpes or any other infection.

The samples collected from your blisters or sores are for lab analysis. These samples can undergo a variety of lab tests to diagnose you for genital Herpes. Your health practitioner will recommend the best testing method for your case.

Blood plasma is rarely used as a primary test. However, it can be used to detect if any other illness is present.

The diagnosis is confirmed by:

  • PCR tests which check for DNA markers.
  • Antibody response initiated by the viral infection.                                  
  • Growing the virus in controlled environments such as blood cultures.

Understanding your sexual history and symptoms is vital for an accurate diagnosis, and your healthcare practitioner will recommend the most appropriate testing method for your case.

Are There Any Treatment Options for Genital Herpes Patients?

Genital Herpes is untreatable but can be managed. Antiviral prescription can help alleviate the following symptoms:

  • Reduce the severity of the first outbreak and lower pain.
  • Reduce symptoms and minimize outburst frequency.                            
  • Decrease recurrent infections so that you can live a stress-free life.

Important Factors

  1. The healthcare professional assigned to your case will determine the best route.
  2. A high dose of antiviral can be given in acute and life-threatening situations.
  3. A health practitioner will recommend the best treatment plan after assessing your case.
  4. Regular checkups are recommended as treatment plans are influenced by factors such as the infection’s intensity, the HSV strain (1 or 2), and sexual activity.

How to Prevent Genital Herpes in Women at its Early Stages

Genital Herpes can be prevented by the same methods of prevention used in other sexually transmitted diseases.

  • Being with a partner whose screening for STIs was negative.
  • Using safe sex practices such as condoms when engaging in sexual activity. They will reduce the chances of infection, but it can still occur due to skin-on-skin contact.
  • Refraining from engaging in sexual activity if you or your partner have blisters, sores, tears, or rashes that look ready to erupt

If you or a loved one are experiencing symptoms of genital herpes, you should contact a medical professional immediately. Cura4U provides convenient access to American Board-certified physicians for timely and accurate guidance. Book your appointment today to prioritize your sexual health. 


Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr. Tayyab Saeed Akhter on November 28 th, 2023.



Recommended Tests